In remembrance of the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the New York City-based studio Literary Safari Media has released an #ArmMeWithGames list of 20 award-winning games that can build empathy and social-emotional learning.
At a time when video games are blamed for violence and even, mass school shootings, the #ArmMeWithGames list invites parents and educators to take a more nuanced view toward the role of games in the lives of young people. The list features letters to parents and teachers from Joel Levin, technology educator and founder of MinecraftEdu, and Dr. Karen Schrier, author of Knowledge Games: How Playing Games Can Solve Problems, Create Insight, and Make Change, along with game recommendations from leading game designers, researchers, and educators such as Barry Joseph, head of Digital at Girl Scouts USA, Asi Burak, author of Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World, and Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. Featured games include Never Alone (E-Line Media), Sign, and Zoo-U.
“This list curates some of the best and most innovative game experiences that can help foster social emotional learning in children,” says Matthew Farber, a professor of technology at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Game-Based Learning in Action.
The #ArmMeWithGames list is a companion resource to Literary Safari’s #ArmMeWithBooks list of book recommendations from award-winning children’s authors which was released in December 2018 on the 6th anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In creating these resources,the studio was inspired by the viral teacher-driven #ArmMeWith social media campaign that emerged in response to politicians’ suggestion that teachers be armed with guns to prevent further school shootings.
“While gun reform legislation and school safety take center stage amongst legislators and in the media, what I see as being less discussed is the very real impact of lockdown drills and school shootings on the emotional lives of young people, educators, and families,” said Sandhya Nankani, founder of Literary Safari and a mother herself. “This week, we are also releasing a downloadable PDF version of our Instagram-style graphic novella, William H.G. Butler Middle School, which inspired our #ArmMeWith campaign. The graphic novella comes with a discussion guide written by a middle school teacher. It is our hope that the story and the companion questions can be used as a tool to foster dialogue among and between students, parents, and educators.”